In Washington for talks with the US administration on how to expand cooperation on science and research, a senior European Commission official said 'I have the feeling that we're rediscovering each other'. Speaking at a breakfast discussion organised by the European Institute, on 13 February, Robert-Jan Smits, director-general at DG Research and Innovation, said 'both sides are eager to do more'. Four specific areas for collaboration were identified at a meeting Smits held with Kerri-Ann Jones, US assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs. The two sides agreed to 'swap notes' on research into cures and vaccinations for poverty-related diseases, such as HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The second area was the marine and Arctic regions, where there were 'huge opportunities' for collaboration between the EU, the US - and with Russia. On transport, the focus would be to develop 'eco-vehicles' that are more energy efficient, he said. The Commission official also signed an agreement with the US Department of Transportation to boost cooperation on transport research, including highway infrastructure and road safety. The fourth priority was 'rare earths' and here Japan would also be drawn into their collaboration. Following his Washington trip, Smits departed for Boston to attend the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting, a major event that draws some 10,000 participants.


Commenting on the European Council's 8 February deal on the EU budget...

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